Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, a musical road trip across America in his 1963 Rolls Royce explores how a country boy lost his authenticity and became a king while his country lost her democracy and became an empire.
Jarecki begins his journey in Presley’s birthplace of Tupelo, Mississippi, before moving on to Memphis, where a young Elvis became immersed in the culturally rich blues traditions that would shape his musical aesthetic. Later, he traces his ascendance in the music and film industry through New York, Hollywood, and Las Vegas. Along the way, Jarecki meets and picks up a multitude of colorful talking heads, some famous (including Alec Baldwin and co-producer Ethan Hawke), some who knew Presley personally, others pleasantly conversational locals with a story to tell. They expound upon Presley’s complicated legacy and troubled personal life and discuss how the country’s obsession with capitalism and greed have successfully killed the myth of the American dream for the middle/working class and the poor.